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Iceland is an incredible country which always makes us happy with its musical scope. Ólöf Arnalds, who cooperated with bands and artists such as Björk, Stórsveit Nix Noltes, Mugison, Slowblow and Skúli Sverrisson, is one of the latest talents of Iceland and she really knows how to beat our hearts with her unique kind of music. We had an interview, just before her upcoming Istanbul concert at Babylon. (Röportajı Türkçe okumak için buraya tıklayın)


We know that you are making music in Iceland since early 2000's and were a touring member of Mum for five years before your solo career. Can yoı please tell us how did this story begin?

I learned violin and classical singing as a child and a teenager. In my teens I started teaching myself guitar and writing songs. I think that I was too shy to come out with my own songs until much later. 

We love Iceland, cause there are so many excellent musicians from your country such as Bjork, Mum, Bang Gang and Sigur Ros. How does it feel to make music in there?

 I´ve never made music any place else so I guess it feels like home. The music scene in Iceland is very tight and friendly and everyone helps each other out, which is a very lovely thing. Also, the dramatic diversity of the nature and it being so accessible in our everyday life here makes it a strong impact on everyone who lives in Iceland. Probably it would do me good to work on some music and recordings in a different environment. Perhaps I should record some music in Turkey. 

By the way you are cousin of Ólafur Arnalds who's well known musician in Istanbul since he made many shows here. What kind of relationship you have, do you see each other much, or collaborate while making music?

Ólafur and I belong to a very closely knit extended family. Our father´s were brothers and his father is like a father to me. So far we´ve not collaborated together professionally. The focus has been on playing and singing popular songs together at family gatherings. 

Can you tell the writing process? How do you write lyrics?

I search for words to articulate a feeling, an immagination or a memory that is strong in my mind in connection with the song I´m writing. Once some words are there, the words themselves, the sound of them and how they fit together come in as a structure that influences how the words continue, it´s a bit like solving a puzzle. 

Your sound has a uniq sense of melancholy, are you such a person in your private life?

I´m very emotional and quite self absorbed. Perhaps that adds up to being melancholic, I don´t know…

Your last albım “Palme” released in 2014. Are there any news about new songs?

There are new songs in the making now. Slowly, I´m curious to see where they are going to take me. 

Is there any song that you particularly enjoy playing live?

I love playing “Innundir Skinni” because it has easy voicing that I can invite the audience to participate in.

You will play at Babylon on April 6th. You've played in Istanbu before right? Did you have any time to wander around the city, do you have any memories? How do you remember Turkish listeners?

I do, I remember having a very nice and intimate concert. I also remember there being an electric blackout in the neighbourhood on the same evening. In the couple of days that I was there having many long interresting conversations with young creative people that I was very moved by. 

Is there anything that you are so passionate about, except music?

Nature, arcitecture and poetry. 

What are your plans for near future? What’s on your agenda?

Writing more music, widening my musical vocabulary as a performer and exploring notation as a tool to capture and develope new ideas. 

What was the most impressive event of recent years for you?

Musically, I would say singing a piece for my voice and the Icelandic Simphony Orchestra, written by my long term collaborator Skúli Sverrisson. 

What’s your deepest dream that you want it to come true?

Building a hut in the country and a hot bath with sea water that you heat with fire. 

What are the first things that come to your mind when you hear these words: 

Love  exists
Hate is fear
Peace is possible
Music is everywhere
Colour light
Family Having dinner
Marriage Unconditional unity
Sex Life
Food Love
Drink Water and wine
Movie An eye opener
Book Voice

Thanks for answers. Anything you want to add for your awaiting Turkish listeners?

Just that I´m thrilled to be coming to Istanbul again. I´m honoured that I´ve been invited to play and hope that my visit will result in a lovely night of music and togetherness with the audience.